New essays on theological, political, and contemporary themes, by the Pulitzer Prize winnerMarilynne Robinson has plumbed the human spirit in her renowned novels, including Lila, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Gilead, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. In this new essay collection she trains her incisive mind on our modern political climate and the mysteries of faith. Whether she is investigating how the work of great thinkers about America like Emerson and Tocqueville inform our political consciousness or discussing the way that beauty informs and disciplines daily life, Robinson's peerless prose and boundless humanity are on full display. What Are We Doing Here? is a call for Americans to continue the tradition of those great thinkers and to remake American political and cultural life as "deeply impressed by obligation and as a great theater of heroic generosity, which, despite all, is sometimes palpable still."...
|Title||:||What Are We Doing Here?|
|Number of Pages||:||336 pages|
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What Are We Doing Here? Reviews
This is not a lightweight read, as Robinson is an academic first, one who happens to write novels. Most of these essays are speeches Robinson gave at universities between 2015 and 2017, on themes of religion, politics, holiness, humanism, etc. She was clearly on a John Edwards, Calvinism, and Cromwell kick because several of the essays reference these characters, as well as looking at the true history of America and its "Puritan roots." While I believe Robinson understands something deep about h ...more
Parts of the book were a 5; parts were a 1. From a Calvinist to a Calvinist, I wish she would read more Calvin and embrace more fully the formal principle of the reformation.
She is at her best when digging into history and correcting oft-repeated but ne’r-researched caricatures; at her worst when off-handed you slipping in her opinions without support or selectively trimming texts to fit her views.
There were some great nuggets in here, and I would recommend reading it, but don’t feel like you ...more
Please note that I received this book through a Goodreads giveaway (thank you)!
The author's drive is clearly emulated and her words are full of passion, but it just was not the book for me. The problem was that her book was very philosophical and although it was written well, the audience member was not right for this book. However, her ideas are very insightful and she touches upon many time periods to support her argument. If you enjoy politics, theology, philosophy, and higher-level thinking ...more
This was one of my free giveaways win. it took me a bit of time to read this as yes it isn't a story it is essays written by Marilynne Robinson. If you are a christen who believes in the bible this is a really informative of why we are here and how the past and future follows the teaching of the bible and in God and Jesus Christ and the teachings of mankind. (love, conscience and faith, hope and the practices of life). I took alot out of these essays but it didn't change alot of my mind set. I b ...more
Summary: A collection of essays based on talks given, mostly at universities, between 2015 and 2017, questioning what she sees as a surrender of thought to ideology.
"I know it is conventional to say we Americans are radically divided, polarized. But this is not more true than its opposite--in essential ways we share false assumptions and flawed conclusions that are never effectively examined because they are indeed shared" (Preface, p. ix).
The thread that connects these essays, mostly transcript ...more
What Are We Doing Here? has been my first foray into Marilynne Robinson's non-fiction essays, and it was like drinking from a fire hose! There is so much density of thought, so much artistry of language, that I am certain I could read it a number of times and still see different and compelling ideas come to the fore in new ways.
Compiled from a number of her lectures from the past few years, this recently-released collection is timely, and Robinson seems to have her finger on the religious, cultu ...more
Though she deals with a wide variety of complex intellectual topics, Robinson eschews academic style in favor of a familiar, rich tone which characterizes most of her writing. She writes as a humanist deeply committed to the meaningfulness and freedom of human life rather than as a technician fettered by technical, logical analysis.
These essays range widely from reflections on American intellectual life to Obama's character to theological reflections on America's exceptional origins, but because ...more
It is no accident that Marxism and social Darwinism arose together, two tellers of one tale. It is not surprising that they have disgraced themselves in similar ways. Their survival more than one hundred and fifty years on is probably owed to the symmetry of their supposed opposition. Based on a single paradigm, they reinforce each other as legitimate modes of thought. So it is with our contemporary Left and Right. Between them we circle in a maelstrom of utter fatuousness.
What Are We Doing He ...more